For Broadmoor High, football is about the numbers. Just not always in the traditional way of thinking.
The Buccaneers have a reputation for fighting to beat the odds with a squad that is small in numbers. Coach Rusty Price once again expects his team suit up less than 40 players for a varsity.
That fact, coupled with Broadmoor’s move up to Class 5A from 4A, would push some coaches to cry foul. Price continues to push the Bucs, who finished 4-6 a year ago, who join District 4-5A.
“The guys who worked out this summer are probably in the best shape of any guys I’ve ever had,” Price said. “And that says something for them.
“We’ve gone more to crossfit training rather than just seeing how much you can lift training. And we’ve lowered the standards for passing a conditioning test. Before, for our skilled athletes, you needed to finish the circuit in a minute. Now, it’s 50 seconds, and that’s a big jump. We’re down to maybe six kids who haven’t made it.”
The success of the Bucs’ offseason program is just one of the reasons why Price considers 5A to be just another number. And his logic is solid.
“I don’t think moving to 5A makes that much difference for us,” said Price, who enters his 29th year as Broadmoor’s head coach. “We play 5A teams every year in nondistrict. Three of the teams in our district — Denham Springs, Live Oak and Walker — we’ve played before.
“We’ve gone up against teams that put 100 players on the field. And we’ll play (3A power) Parkview Baptist this year. That’s not going to intimidate us. They’ve seen it before.”
Price has changed his thinking on more than just Broadmoor’s workout regimen. The coach who used to require players to attend every summer workout has developed some compromises.
“A lot of kids don’t have the transportation to get here for every workout,” Price said. “So I’ve changed it so that they (Broadmoor players) have to make a certain number of summer workouts. I was up here on Saturdays, giving some of them a chance to get in a makeup workout. And some of them did.”
The one thing Price won’t compromise on is effort. So far, he said he’s been pleased, but not satisfied with a BHS squad that in some major ways breaks the mold of past Broadmoor teams.
Though the squad size is small for a 5A or 4A team, the Bucs will feature the largest offensive line in Price’s tenure. Carl DiJohn, a Broadmoor assistant during the glory days of the 1990s, is back to coach the line that will average 275 pounds.
Junior center Greg Ramirez (5-foot-11, 275 pounds) is one of three returning starters on the line that also will feature 6-4, 300-pound senior Robby Hampton, a first-time football player Price had in one of his spring physical education classes.
“I think it (competition) will be about the same,” Ramirez said. “It’s just going to be a different title and different in the district. I think we’ve all developed a special bond this summer. We’ve gotten our stuff done and got after each other to get things done.
“The big difference will be preparing for different schools. We’ll have to take it week to week. We’ll have to go hard every play and never take any breaks.”
Hampton is adjusting to football and the Bucs.
“It was pretty hard, because this is my first year of really working out,” Hampton said. “But my coaches and my teammates have stayed with me and pushed me to get stronger and learn what I need to do. I look forward to helping my team.”
The player shouldering much of the load for the Bucs is senior quarterback Ryan Sibley, a returning starter who also started some as a sophomore. Now 6-2, the 189-pound Sibley is larger than the prototype quarterback in Broadmoor’s veer offense.
Price calls Sibley a “difference maker,” especially when teamed with returning running backs David Siggers and Eric Green.
“I’m very comfortable with the offense,” Sibley said. “Our line will be a big strength. I’ve got faith in our running backs and our receivers. If I see our guys open downfield I’m going to try and get the ball to them. The important thing is for me to make the right reads.”
There are no statistical numbers dancing around in Sibley’s head. Like his coach, Sibley wants the Bucs to be better.
Improved execution on offense, yielding fewer big plays on defense and avoiding injuries are all pivotal for Price.
Of course, the ultimate goal comes down to this — winning numbers on the scoreboard.
“The difference is 4A and 5A will come down to durability over the whole season,” Price said. “If we can stay injury free, we’ve got a shot at being good.”
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